Ian J. M. Crossfield, Assistant Professor of Physics

Assistant Professor of Physics

EMAIL: iancross@mit.edu

PHONE: (617) 253-6102

OFFICE: 37-611



Area of Physics:


In The News

Career History

  • S.B., Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, 2004
  • S.M., Astrophysics, University of California, Los Angeles, 2009
  • Ph.D., Astrophysics, University of California, Los Angeles, 2012
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, 2012-2014
  • NASA Sagan Fellow, U. Arizona, Lunar and Planetary Lab, 2014-2016
  • Sagan Fellow/Researcher, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2016-2017
  • Assistant Professor, MIT Physics, 2017-Present

Awards and Honors

  • 2015: Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow
  • 2014: NASA Sagan Fellowship
  • 2013: AAS Doxsey Prize
  • 2011-2012: UCLA Dissertation Year Fellow
  • 2010: AAS Chambliss Student Achievement Award
  • 2009: AAS Chambliss Student Achievement Award
  • 2009: Honorable Mention, NSF Graduate Student Research Fellowship
  • 2008: Honorable Mention, NSF Graduate Student Research Fellowship
  • 2007-2009: UCLA Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics Graduate Fellowship
  • 2008: UCLA Department of Astronomy First Year Graduate Student Summer Fellowship
  • 2007: Jet Propulsion Laboratory: SIM: PlanetQuest Outstanding Performance Award (×2)
  • 2004: Outstanding Senior in Physics, UC Irvine Physics Department
  • 2003: Herbet H. Chen Award (Outstanding Junior), UC Irvine Physics Department
  • 2003: Elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Pi Sigma

Research Interests

My research focuses on the atmospheric characterization of extrasolar planets ("exoplanets") through all possible methods --- transits, eclipses, phase curves, and direct imaging --- from the ground and from space. I'm also interested in the discovery of new exoplanets, especially those whose atmospheres we can study in more detail. My work has led to hundreds of validated planets from NASA's K2 mission; the first atmospheric spectroscopy of multiple extrasolar ice giants and super-Earths; and the first 2D surface map of any substellar object beyond the Solar System. I recently wrote a definitive review of exoplanetary atmospheres; have conducted numerous test studies of the exoplanet capabilities of giant, next-generation telescopes; have coordinated multiple research collaborations using ground- and space-based facilities; and have mentored undergraduate and graduate students in papers on these topics.

Biographical Sketch

After receiving an undergrad Physics degree I worked as an Optical & Systems Engineer at NASA/JPL for three years on projects such as the Gemini Planet Imager, the Space Interferometry Mission, and the Thirty Meter Telescope (whose Wikipedia page I created). While at JPL I decided I would rather use telescopes than build them for other people, so I got my PhD in Astrophysics across town at UCLA under Prof. Brad Hansen. After that I spend two wonderful years as a Planet & Star Formation Fellow at the MPIA in Heidelberg, Germany; two warmer years as a NASA Sagan Fellow at UA's Lunar and Planetary Lab in Tucson, AZ; and stints as a Sagan Fellow and Associate Researcher at UC Santa Cruz. From there I headed East to Cambridge to begin the next phase of my life with MIT.

Selected Publications

Search my publications the easy way: NASA ADSarXivGoogle Scholar. Or, browse the listings below:

Last updated on January 28, 2019 11:42 AM